China condemns Quetta church attack

Multiple casualties in Pakistan Methodist church attack

Gunmen wearing explosives-filled vests stormed the church in Quetta city when Sunday services began, exploding a suicide vest and shooting at the worshippers, Baluchistan province home minister Sarfraz Bugti said.

One of the attackers detonated his suicide vest at the church's main gate after receiving bullet injuries while the second was shot dead by the security forces.

Police guards at the church exchanged fire with the attackers before they could enter the main sanctuary, said local police chief Moazzam Jah.

"We were in services when we heard a big bang", he said.

The Bethel Memorial Church, situated in city's high security zone has been the target of a terrorist attack in the past as well.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack and for several other attacks in Baluchistan in recent years.

Hospital officials said two women were among the dead while another five women and two children were among the wounded.

Security forces led congregants out of the church.

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"Suddenly a huge explosion occurred outside the hall that broke window panes", he told the newspaper. The area has been cordoned off and an emergency situation was imposed in all hospitals across Quetta. Pakistan officials deny the group has a presence in the country. "We had demanded the government beef up security for churches all over the country". He also expressed his sympathies with the victims' families and wished for early recovery of the injured.

Another 15 people were killed at two churches in Lahore when suicide bombers struck each of them.

The most fatal attack was the double-suicide blast on a Peshawar church, which killed 85 people in September 2013.

A policeman takes position after gunmen attacked the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta, Pakistan.

CCTV footage released by the police showed the attackers, both carrying guns, approaching the church gates.

Meanwhile, Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal strongly condemned the terrorist attack, terming the incident tragic and an act of cowardliness.

Ahsan Iqbal renewed the pledge that war against terrorism would continue till complete elimination of the menace.

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